Most of us can't imagine turning our back on a domestic violence victim and her kids who were in desperate need of help. But not everyone is so empathetic. Carie Charlesworth, a sixth-grade private school teacher, was fired because her ex-husband was "too dangerous." Not only did she lose her job -- and her only means of supporting her family -- her four kids (all students at the school) were kicked out as well. Was this really the right thing to do?
I understand the administrators' and parents' fears. Her ex, who had a restraining order against him, had popped up in the elementary school parking lot the Monday after harassing his family over the weekend. She told the school principal what had happened and the entire school went into lockdown mode. It's a necessary precaution in this day and age, where schools have been the setting for the most unspeakable acts of violence. There is a restraining order against him that he ignored and, as a result, was put in jail. But anticipating his release, the San Diego school kicked the entire family out even though Charlesworth had taught there for 14 years without a blemish on her record.
The school's decision just goes to further victimize the victims. Not only that, it sets a bad example for the entire student body. The lesson in all of this? Turn your back on someone in need. Kids who have very troubled and stressful home lives find a great deal of comfort in the routine and calmness of school. That has now been stripped away.
Don't get me wrong. It's not as though I think they should just ignore the situation or a possible threat, but there must be another solution other than leaving this woman with no way to support her family and no school for the children to attend. If there is a restraining order in place and this man keeps breaking it, the police need to increase their presence and protect this woman and her family, even if it means regularly patrolling the campus.
Or perhaps put her on administrative leave or give her an office job with the Diocese of San Diego, which runs her school and many others. What happened to this woman doesn't just affect her, it affects all victims of domestic violence. It shows them that being honest about what is going on in their lives may only increase their suffering and that's just not right.
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Do you think this mom should have lost her job?